3 cars burn in hospital parking structure

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SAN DIEGO — A fire broke out in a parking garage at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital Monday, damaging three cars.

The blaze broke out at about 9:30 a.m. on the fourth level of a parking structure in the 3000 block of Health Center Drive in the Birdland neighborhood. Firefighters said the fire started when gas leaking from one of the cars ignited. The fire then spread to two adjacent vehicles.

A black plume of smoke rose above the parking structure and was visible from state Route 163 and the Interstate 805 freeways.

ParkingGarageFireCrews had the vehicle fires out within 10 minutes, but it took them about a half-hour to extinguish leaking fuel that ignited and re-ignited while flowing down the sloping parking lot toward and around other cars, SDFRD spokesman Maurice Luque said.

The monetary losses — including superficial damage to the building, as well as the destroyed Ford pickup truck, Honda sedan and Toyota SUV — were expected to total at least $75,000.

The cause of the blaze was under investigation, Luque said.

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